Prolific thief targets Leamington shop to fund drug and alcohol habits

The Justice Centre in Leamington which is home to Warwick Crown Court
The Justice Centre in Leamington which is home to Warwick Crown Court

A man with 76 offences of theft on his record struck at the Boots store in Leamington town centre three times to steal electrical items to sell to feed his drug habit.

But despite his latest offences being committed just two days after he had been given a community order, Barry Miller has walked free from Warwick Crown Court.

Miller (37) of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to three charges of theft, and was jailed for one month.

But because he had already spent just over a month in custody on remand since his arrest, the sentence meant he would be released straight away, with the community order to continue.

Prosecutor Paul Dhami said all three offences took place at the Boots store in the Parade, Leamington, with the first theft being carried out on June 15.

Miller went in and picked up a Phillips shaver priced at £120, put it inside his jacket and walked out without paying.

After the theft was spotted on a CCTV monitor Miller was identified, but had not been arrested by the time he returned to the store in August 14.

That was just two days after he had been given a 12-month community order for other thefts, pointed out Mr Dhami.

At just before 10am Miller picked up two Philips multi-groomers, put them inside his jacket and walked out.

Two hours later he went back to Boots and stole a £69.99 electric toothbrush using the same method.

When he was arrested the following day he made full admissions, saying he was intoxicated at the time and was stealing to feed his drink and drug habits.

Mr Dhami added that Miller had convictions for a total of 107 offences including robbery and 76 thefts.

Nick Devine, defending, pointed out that Miller had been remanded in custody since his arrest, which was the equivalent of a two-month sentence, and had been tackling his drug problem.

Sentencing him, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC told him: “You behaved in a way which has meant you are a thorough nuisance.

“People who think that theft from shops is not serious are entirely wrong, and you have continued to commit legion offences of that nature, even when courts have sought to give you what assistance they can.”

Explaining that the sentence would lead to his release, and ordering the community order to continue, Judge Lockhart added: “You were selecting high value items and taking them, no doubt to feed an addiction which you need assistance with.”